Partiality Rules

The Spanish judiciary is coming under fire from all sides lately. The truth is, judges are smacking of everything except impartiality. The latest ruling on a case in which they had to determine who pays the tax on a new mortgage, has shown that many judges prefer to maintain the status quo on the power of the banking industry.

The case was originally decided that, because of a change of wording in tax law four years ago, the client was not supposed to pay the tax. The Supreme Court judges ruled last month that the banks should pay it. This tax, in Spain, is on 1.5% of the value of the mortgage taken out, and can reach a few thousand euros. In other countries, it's a much lower percentage. Up till now, the client has had to pay it. This ruling was supposed to change that. It also opened the door to retroactive refunding of the tax paid in the last four years. The bank would have to pay the clients the amount of tax they had paid when they signed the mortgage. 

But the banks never lose, ever. When that ruling came out, their stocks fell, and someone must have nudged a judge. Almost immediately, the judges said that the ruling must be debated, and they set the debate for this past Monday. People who were about to sign on a mortgage were left dangling, not knowing if they had to pay a few thousands more or not. Banks weren't promising anything, either, except that one way or another, the client would end up paying. On Monday, they justices gathered; they didn't decide. Yesterday they gathered again. They finally decided that the ruling last month was on an individual case, and that the ruling did not set jurisprudence. In other words, that the client will continue to pay the tax.

Almost immediately, banks' stocks rose. Of course, it was the news they were waiting to hear. And, almost immediately, consumer groups called foul. Whenever a case comes up involving banking abuses, the bank always ends up winning, one way or another. Even if they don't, they either send the ruling up to the European court, or they pass it off to the clients in some other way. It doesn't matter how you look at it, banks never lose. And everyone now has to pass through the banks. Just about everybody gets paid by direct deposit. If you don't have a bank account, you're told to open one or you won't get paid. All transactions above two thousand euros must be done electronically. Tax refunds and tax payments must be done through a bank account. The banks have the right to hold your money hostage. And they will charge you for it.

And the Spanish judiciary has come out as being bedfellows with the banking industry. I don't know if a judge is obligated to make public his investment portfolio, but I would love to know how many have invested in banking stocks. It has become clear there is no impartiality in the law courts of this country. But the common citizens aren't the only ones saying so. 

That's not the only place justice has its blindfold off. In the case of the declaration of Catalan independence there is also plenty of partiality. While the State is charging only with sedition those arrested last year, the Attorney General's office is charging them with rebellion, which has a penalty of twenty-five years, double the charge for sedition. (In Spain the judiciary system is strange, and I don't understand it much. The State can be a plaintiff on its own, it seems.) The problem for the Attorney General is the wording. It's rebellion only if there is violence, which there wasn't, not on the part of the representatives arrested. They always asked for peaceful resistance. A German newspaper claimed last month that, in regard to this trial, the Spanish justice system is still very much Francoist. I would love to find that article online, but it seems neither Google nor DuckDuckGo will find it for me, no matter how I word the search. Is there really no internet censorship? Hah!

But even with members of ETA there is a problem with impartial justice. Arnaldo Otegi made an appeal to the European tribunal at Strasbourg, claiming that his trial back in 2011 for attempting to reestablish a political party that had been declared illegal because of its relationship to the terrorist band, was not impartial. The tribunal ruled in his favor, saying that one of the sitting judges should not have been there. Apparently, this judge considered him guilty because of her views, and not because of the evidence. It seems the courts were so confident in the outcome, that they didn't bother to make sure there were no technicalities against them. Cocksureness has no place in the courtroom.

There's something rotten, all right, but it's not in the Kingdom of Denmark. 

Martillo Tribunal Dollar Signo De Dólar Be


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